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Featured Fly: Nantahala Special

leah kirk

This is a pattern I’ve been trying to locate for a long time. Shannon Messer recently told me about selling the Nantahala Special in his fly in Sylvia, NC; Blackrock Outfitters. According to Shannon, the Nantahala Special was originated my his relative, Charlie Bear Messer. A pioneer fly fisherman of the first order, Messer came up with this pattern after being above the powerhouse on the upper Nantahala River just off Wayah Road.  After observing trout feeding on flies just below the surface Messer came up with this pattern.  He caught many large trout on this fly and it became one of his favorites. This fly is not meant to sit on the surface.  It fishes best slightly under the surface. Although not well known, it can produce fish many months of the year.  Shannon says it is one of his go-to flies especially when the trout are being a bit picky.
Hook:         size 12 -14 standard dry fly
Thread:         pale yellow 6/0
Tail:         Golden Pheasant Tippet
Rib:         brown sewing thread
Body:         pale yellow or baby yellow yarn
Hackle:          Grizzly and Brown slightly larger than normal.  Only make two wraps.